Canadian Manufacturing

Half of Canadians wish they had sought career counseling, says new report

The survey of 1,500 adult Canadians looks at how they use career and employment counseling services.

TORONTO—One in two Canadians who have not had career counseling say they would seek professional career planning or employment advice if they could do it over again, a new survey has found.

“There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career,” said Jan Basso, chair of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), which commissioned the survey along with The Counselling Foundation of Canada.

Basso, who is also director of co-operative education and career development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., said the need for career guidance is particularly acute with ongoing skills and experience mismatches, and with rapid changes in the Canadian employment landscape, citing the oil and gas and retail sectors as examples.

The survey of 1,500 adult Canadians looks at how they use career and employment counseling services.

More than half of those with a career (53 per cent) said they had sought advice from a career professional. Those with a job accessed counselling services less than those with a career at just under four in 10 (38 per cent). Among both those with careers and jobs who did not seek career or employment counselling, half said they should have obtained more professional advice (47 per cent and 50 per cent respectively).

Canadians reported that when they were considering career options, they were most likely to have met with a:

  • High school guidance counsellor (55%)
  • Career counsellor at a post-secondary institution (40%)
  • Person involved in human resources or career management at their place of work (27%)
  • Specialist at a community-based employment centre (26%)
  • Recruiter or headhunter (21%)

Barriers to accessing career services mentioned in the survey include Canadians not believing they need career counselling since they already know their career goals and a lack of familiarity with the different career services available.

“Career professionals come in a variety of forms, from high school guidance counsellors to private career coaches,” said Riz Ibrahim, CERIC’s executive director. “Some can be accessed for free and for some, there is a cost. It’s understandable that people might need assistance to determine the right type of services for their needs.”

Survey findings show that as age rises, the number of Canadians with careers seeking career counselling declines. Those 18–24 years of age are most likely to report that they have used career counselling services at 76 per cent. More women (57 per cent) than men (50 per cent) report having accessed career services. In terms of location, more residents of Ontario (61 per cent) sought advice from a career professional compared with residents of Quebec (49 per cent), Atlantic Canada (46 per cent) and BC (45 per cent).

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